ESPN Source

The Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors have engaged in exploratory trade discussions on a deal that would swap the Bulls’ Carlos Boozer for the Raptors’ Andrea Bargnani, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

Other players with smaller contracts would have to be added to the deal to make the salary-cap math work, should talks indeed progress to a more serious level, but sources told on Thursday that both teams have given consideration to the move.

From Chicago’s perspective, sources said, Bargnani’s arrival could help address their glaring lack of 3-point shooting and brighten the overall look of its payroll, given that the Italian forward makes $5 million less than Boozer this season. Despite his well-chronicled defensive deficiencies, Bargnani would figure to be an effective pick-and-roll partner for Derrick Rose, once Rose makes his expected return from knee surgery after the All-Star break.

The biggest impediment to such a trade, sources said, is believed to be whether Toronto can realistically afford having both Rudy Gay and Boozer on its payroll beyond this season.

The Raptors, fresh off acquiring Gay from Memphis last week, have been openly shopping Bargnani, who resumed the most disappointing season of his career Wednesday night after missing 26 games with an elbow injury.

Although Toronto’s desire to upgrade its front line is an open secret — as confirmed by their long-running interest in trading for the Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol before Gasol’s foot injury this week — it’s believed that the luxury-tax implications of trading for Boozer could ultimately dissuade the Raptors from such a deal, even if Chicago proved willing.

Wow! We are really pushing to do this on the fly, and Boozer is a reasonable target because, like Bargnani, he’s always considered surplus to requirements in Chicago so we’d essentially be trading rather undesirable parts. Your problem for mine, sort of. Contract-wise, Boozer is worse than Bargnani as he makes about $5M more than Bargnani for the same duration. In total, he’s owed about $15M+ more (Chicago Salaries, Toronto Salaries). If the Raptors add on the difference in salary through some trade, then the Raptors would be in the tax! More likely, though, is that filler such as Kleiza would be included (Trade Machine trade that works). I can’t see the Bulls throwing in a pick or even any other player here, so let’s take a look at the Raptors projected lineup:

SG: DeRozan, Ross
SF: Gay, Pietrus
PF: Boozer, Johnson,
C: Valanciunas, Gray
PG: Lowry, Lucas

That is going to be one expensive lineup for a team that’s so far below .500, but more importantly, what it allows Colangelo to do is to make a case to the fans/management that this new team, as constructed, needs to be given a shot to see what they can do. And that will happen next year, of course.

Bargnani isn’t working out to anyone’s taste currently and fans would really accept an “addition by subtraction” trade, but with Boozer coming back, we might just be subtracting by subtraction. Again, like Gay, he’s a potentially All-Star caliber player who has soured on his team for reasons relating to either selfish basketball or attitude, and would come to Toronto as a 31-year old looking to….win a Championship? Hard to believe that, so it’s basically playing out the tail-end of a career for a team aiming for some respectability.

Related: Discuss Bargnani/Boozer in the forums

  • Vanlivin

    How long is boozers contract?

    • NyAlesund

       Same as Bargnani. 15 mln (2012/13), 15.3 mln (2013/14) and 16.8 (2014/15).

  • Benjoemike

    YES YES YES! Who else gets added on in the deal though? Fields? AA? Klieza?

    • Black angus

      Hopefully Fields is included and then we can still amnesty Klieza.

  • Jordan vanKlinken

    Shouldn’t include Kleiza. They can save money if they wait and amnesty him in the off-season. Doubt the Bulls take Fields, but if they did, that’d be great. Maybe Gray is more likely.

    3 years left on Bargnani and 3 years left on Boozer.

  • Steve

    Do this trade and include fields/kleiza/anderson. If this doesn’t work then try trading for big al or gortat. But good start in trying to trade primo

  • pran

    and it’s good for andrea, going to a team that’s contending.

  • NyAlesund

    This trade would be great for Bargs. Play alongside Rose, Noah, his national teammate Belinelli in a Thibo’s system would mean a lot  for him. He would play the po series and improve his basketball.

    For us Boozer means double machine………………I don’t think Colangelo would accept this trade but considering the current Bargs’ value this trade wouldn’t be bad. Better than some scrub players and a miserable second pick.

  • sleepz


    No one but Colangelo could ruin a franchise more effectively.

    BC was glad he wasn’t paying Bosh the max because he’s not a ‘franchise’ guy but now he’ll happily pay other lesser players max dollars.

    Accelerated mediocrity. lol

  • BoshRawr

    Don’t think we should get rid of Bargnani just for the sake of getting rid of him. He looked more engaged and more active than I’ve seen him in a while and I wouldn’t mind him coming off the bench; he was surprisingly efficient in that role.  However, I still think you go after Pau if LA is willing and call this season a wash because at this point playoffs are a stretch. He has less years on his contract than Boozer and a healthy gasol and a training camp to get acclamated with his new teammates and we could do damage next season, maybe contend for the 5th-8th spot? Maybe re-sign calderon? With that being said, I think at this point its clear that a trade for Millsap isn’t happening, hence the exploratory talks of taking on Boozer’s albatross of a contract. Boozer does give us a low post presence that we so desperately need. If this is indeed the case, I think we kill two birds with one stone and make the following trade:

    Chicago receives:

    Toronto receives:

    The salaries match, get er done BC.

    • KaioKev

      I’d be great if we could send Fields’ ridiculous contract away. Hopefully we can send Kleiza away too!

  • Sig

    Very interesting. I’d be down for this trade, why not. Not like the money’s comin outta my pocket..

    • golden

      Actually, the money is coming out of your pocket.  Basketball revenues ultimately come from the fans, be it ticket sales, jerseys, or monetizing our eyeballs through advertising.  It’s kind of like taxes & the government.  Take a small enough chunk from a large enough group and control that money, yet each individual hasn’t contributed enough to feel like they should have any say in how that money’s pissed away.

  • profster

    There has to be a PG included otherwise Toronto is screwed! Yes Hinrich will do…

    • Sig

       Hinrich would be great.

    • Arsenalist

      But can you really get screwed when you’re already screwed?

      • sleepz

        We’re about to find out.

  • voy

    you only make this deal with boozer’s contract and the rest of our current salaries if you think this is good enough for us to contend cuz you wont have a lot of wiggle room to do anything else, in my opinion.   against this backdrop, I say “no, thank you”.

  • vino

    I like Booz just a bit more than Bargs; just a bit… not sure I like this trade for the Raps though

  • ghost

    That team with Boozer would completely lack 3 point shooting and would have terrible spacing problems for RG and DD to be efective.

  • Jones99

    Don’t understand why people are complaining about money.  It’s time to start spending some money.  Go for it if it upgrades talent.  I don’t hear complaints from the teams that do, then when the contracts expire, we hear all the time how valuable large expiring contracts are.  I say we go the Mark Cuban way.  As fans, we should demand Rogers/Bell to spend.
    You can only keep acquiring draft picks and young players only so far, the point to get the cap flexibility is to make moves when the opportunities arise.  We got a good young core, time to add some solid veterans – not the Rasual Butler level ones, but proven ones like  Boozer.

    • Jones99

      on second thought, let’s keep the cap flexibility for Lebron James and other top free agents in the years to come in case they pick Toronto at discount price.

      • minks77

        It’s not that anyne is expecting to keep cap space for a run at LBJ it’s that you have to spend your money wisely. It’s like having a gorgeous woman: you don’t wanna blow your whole load right off the bat. Especially not at the first strobe light hoe you see. And make no mistake, Booz is a strobe light hoe. A very expensive one at that. All he does is move the heart of this team to the bench while playing marginally better than AB but for 5 million more and no room to address the open sore that is the back up PG position. 

  • Randy “Matchoman” Sandwich

    Gotta give the new lineup some time

  • raptorspoo

    LOLOLOL…I love this!

    Let’s build like the Knicks..  the Knicks like 10 years ago – in the lux tax with a garbage team, stuck with horrible contracts!

    Hopefully we’ll realize we’re terrible next year, fire BC and be lucky and pick up Wiggins or at the least JP.

    BC, you have my support to ruin this team!

  • Borg

    As much as I’m a fan of Bargnani, I would do this trade in a heartbeat :

  • Bryan Colangelo

    It is high time Toronto just accept that fact that it isn’t a destination that most (American) players want to play for, and that the team will always have to overpay for talent to remain competitive.

    • Jimi

      San Antone
      Miami (Wade and Shaq)

      and on and on and on

      championship teams, who got their key players through the draft. You do not build great teams through free agency. Free agency doesn’t matter. You build through the draft. You have to make sure that you have those picks that can get you lucky and get you a great player. There’s no other way to win. 

      Remaining competitive is a joke. It’s purgatory. It’s a waste of time. Bottoming out is the only way to go. 

      • Ihatehaters


        LA traded for Kobe and signed Shaq. Boston traded for KG and signed Allen. Miami signed Shaq. 

        Bottoming out doesn’t guarantee you anything. Ask the Clippers from the 90s – 00s. 

        • Jimi

          Charlotte drafted Kobe for the Lakers. Then Shaq came. 

          Boston already had Pierce at that point and they used Jefferson (a former pick) and another high pick to get KG and Allen. 

          Wade was drafted, then they traded for Shaq. 

          You have to get that first foundational piece through the draft, there’s no way around it. 

          (Well, there’s two exceptions. The current Miami team, which was a free agent coup that has never been seen in any sport that I can think, and will not be seen in the NBA again because of the new CBA. Hell, they changed the rules to MAKE SURE it will never be seen again. The other exception is the Billups-Wallaces-etc. Pistons, who got extremely lucky three times: the Billups signing [he was generally thought to be a bust at that point], Ben Wallace emerging into a player that no one saw coming [and they only got him because of Grant Hill, who they drafted], and Rasheed Wallace being gifted to them in a trade for essentially nothing [it was the Pau-to-the-Lakers trade of that era]. So you don’t want to be following the template laid out by either of those two teams.)

          And I didn’t say that bottoming out guarantees you anything. It just gives you the best chance to land a player that can get you to a championship. 

      • minks77

        not this draft year it ‘s not. 2014 maybe but not 2013.

        • Jimi

          You never know. Kobe, Pierce, Wade, Nowitzki, even Jordan – no one thought that any of them would be the players they turned into. 

          You can even look at Kyrie Irving – he was a consensus #1, but he wasn’t unanimously pegged as a franchise player. And now, GODDAM!

        • Jimi

      • Bryan Colangelo

        Actually, Toronto has never had a problem drafting great players. Aside from a Araujo here and there, Toronto has always gotten great value out of their picks compared to most teams. 

        Sure Rudy Gay would have been a better pick than Bargs in 2006, but compared to some of the other players drafted ahead of Gay (Adam Morrison! Tyrus Thomas! Randy Foye), the Raptors could have done much worse.

        Toronto’s problem has been and always will be attracting and retaining the talent they draft or develop.If MLSE is willing to overpay, by all means, let them. 

        • Jimi

          Depends how you define great. When I say great, I mean franchise cornerstones who can be the best player on a title team. The only players that Toronto has drafted who could be discussed in this class are McGrady and Carter, and IMO neither of them make the cut. Sure, they were incredibly physically talented. But loyalty and perseverance are also essential to that kind of special, championship winning greatness, and neither of them had those qualities. McGrady was a prima donna egomaniac who couldn’t handle the fact the Vince was taking attention away from him. Vince was just a pussy. It’s crass, but it’s true. Oak was the only one in the organization who had the balls to say, and he got traded immediately. 

          The thing is, karma gets you. McGrady never made it out of the first round, and Vince is seen as one of the all-time wastes of talent. If they’d had their heads screwed on right and stuck it out here together, they just might have won a title. The blame is on them, not on this city. 

          A lot of people say that this city’s the problem, that being in Canada is the problem, that the weather is the problem, that the taxes are the problem, and I think that’s all pure bullshit. I think if we’d drafted a Garnett, a Kobe, a Derrick Rose, a Duncan, they’d have embraced the city and they’d have won here. They’re the kind of players who love the game and want to win, and will do that wherever they happen to be. I mean, even Durant recently said that his favourite team growing up was the Raptors. He said he wanted to be drafted by Toronto because he wanted to build a winning team here, or something to that effect. Kinda destroys that whole “no American born player wants to play here” mentality when one of the two best players in the world says exactly the opposite, that this was where he most wanted to play. 

  • Rob

    Boozer, like Bargs, is still a poor defender, a much better rebounder, but costs more. He’s simply not much of an upgrade, especially given his price-tag.

  • golden

    Bargs for Boozer?  Well, it definitely fits BC’s consistent modus
    operandi which is to assemble a B-List team of guys with recognized ‘names’ and
    overpaying them with A-List salaries. 
    This smoke and mirrors tactic works well in Toronto because 99% of the revenues come from
    a fan base that associates ‘goaltending’ with a guy in a mask stopping pucks

  • Buschfire

    Looks like if it does work it will be bargs m lucas for boozer n robinson… I’d like to somehow add anderson or kleiza in this mix as well…

  • 2damkule

    i’ve stayed out of the recent trade talk…although i don’t like the gay acquisition, i felt it was the beginning of a larger plan, and thought it prudent to wait & see what other moves were made.

    first & foremost – i’m disappointed that BC is still around to be making moves.  that was really my only wish, that he be removed before any franchise-altering deals could be consumated, since his involvement would mean he’d more than likely be extended (as blake recently pointed out).

    from an actual basketball perspective, i didn’t like the gay trade for many of the reasons mentioned by others – too little production/value for too much money for too long a period of time.  i actually like rudy quite a bit, but what he brings vs. what he costs – when coupled with all the other low value + high cost players on the team – will without a doubt hamstring the raps into a perpetual cycle of mediocrity. 

    BUT…as mentioned, i wanted to see what other moves BC was cooking up, always holding out hope that he’d FOR ONCE take the long view on any deal.  now, i kinda seriously doubt that this rumour for boozer is anything more than BC trying to puff up bargs’ value on the market (i have a hard time believing that chicago would leak something like this, considering where their team is at).  but if there’s more to it…holy fuck, what a joke.  boozer’s a good player, don’t get me wrong, but just like gay now (and for the next couple years), & derozan (starting next year), he provides value that is far below what he costs…which means you’re RELYING on your low-income guys (basically, journeyman vets & guys on rookie contracts) to pick up the slack & play well above what should be expected of them.  of course, they’ll hardly get a chance to do so, because they’ll mostly be getting limited minutes playing behind guys making so much coin.

    this is 100% the kind of trade BC would make.  and that should be enough to drive home the point that it’s a horrible one for TO.

    and i’m a  bargs ‘hater,’ so i should probably be ecstatic that they’d be getting rid of him.

  • Alexander1_john

    If we could get Boozer/Butler/Hinrich for Bargs/Fields/Anderson/2nd round pick (or two?), I’d bite on that.

    • vino

      maybe Boozer/Butler/Robinson/2nd round for Bargs/Fields/Lucas. maybe. and not because I value Bargs a lot…

  • robertparrish00

    Who gives a crap about the luxury tax.  MLSE is on the hook, and they have loads of cash.  You have to be above willing to go above the luxury tax to upgrade your team, or you do it thru a couple seasons of tanking or spending more $.

    With how cruddy our craptors have been, the ownership should finally reward its fans with some wins.

  • jacobdrichards4

    I get really sick of  people saying every trade that comes in to play if BC makes it their gonna quit being a raptors fan. Please do, they don’t need your shitty support anyway. 

  • Beagle17

    This trade might be fun for Toronto, but isn’t it obvious why Chicago is willing to dump him?  He’s pretty good but not really worth paying at “franchise player” level. So it’s not likely gonna be good for the Raptors’ long term interest regardless. But, as many have pointed out, the fans sort of need a few bones after a decade or so of below